Houston-based Bleutec Industries announced it has received approval in principle (AIP) from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for the designs of its Jones Act compliant offshore wind farm construction solution.
Envisioned as an alternative to wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV), Bleutec's "binary marine installation solution" (BMIS) is a spread of DP2 vessels designed in partnership with Ohio-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm NETSCo, each engineered to be built at U.S. shipyards and operated within the U.S. Jones Act offshore wind market.
The BMIS consists of a jack-up pile installation vessel (PIV) equipped with a gantry crane and hydraulic hammer, jack-up wind turbine installation vessel light (WTIVL) with a leg encircling crane, and service operations vessels (SOV) that would together be capable of installing monopiles of up to 4,500 metric tons and 15 meters in diameter as well as turbines up to 22 megawatts in up to 60 meters water depth.
Robin Bodtmann, Bleutec’s president and CEO said, "Along with our strategic partners, we hope to transform the offshore wind industry through our BMIS with the mission of becoming the premier provider of Jones Act transportation and installation for this market. [The AIP] is a key milestone for the company, and Bleutec will continue to work closely with NETSCo and ABS to achieve class designation for the construction of our innovative system developed for the installation of clean energy in the U.S."
The solution comes to market as the U.S. supply chain ramps up to reach the nation's target of 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030. It's expected that fleet of new and converted vessels—including both U.S. and foreign tonnage—will be required to accomplish the task.
NETSCo vice president, Jan Flores, Bleutec’s appointed naval architect and marine engineer, said, "This solution uses as its basis an American-made model incorporating simple design techniques from similar vessels already built and operating in the U.S. This is a significant development for offshore wind as it paves the way for the use of safe, efficient, cost-effective Jones Act vessel solutions to this emergent industry."
Greg Lennon, vice president for global offshore wind at ABS, said, "The Bleutec solution integrates a number of known technologies into a systematic approach in the offshore wind supply chain. ABS is pleased to support their vessel designs and the incorporation of technologies to support the rapidly growing U.S. market with multiple projects advancing in permitting."
Bleutec, a privately held company formed in 2019, secured "a significant capital commitment" from EnCap Investments in late 2022 that it said would enable the company to develop its fleet "quickly". Bleutec has said it plans to have its first ABS-classed PIV and WTIVL ready for operational deployment circa 2026.
Finland-based marine equipment and engine supplier Wärtsilä in 2022 announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding securing its role as the systems integrator for Bleutec's BMIS. All vessels are designed to be powered by Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines paired with Wärtsilä’s hybrid battery energy storage systems, and, according to Wärtsilä, will incorporate the latest advances in dynamic positioning.